Caramel-Topped Sweet Rolls Recipe

Updated on February 25, 2020
Rhosynwen profile image

I come from a family that likes to be creative in the kitchen. I enjoy dreaming up new recipes, as well as putting a spin on old favorites.

Caramel-Topped Sweet Rolls
Caramel-Topped Sweet Rolls | Source

I must confess I have a weakness for caramel, whether it be as a candy, or in the form of a sticky caramel sauce. I had been wanting to try to combine caramel with another favorite of mine—sweet rolls—and so I went into the kitchen to start experimenting. The result is this recipe: rolls filled with brown sugar and warm spices, and smothered with a squidgy caramel topping. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family has!

5 stars from 1 rating of Caramel-Topped Sweet Rolls

Cook Time

Prep time: 2 hours 20 min
Cook time: 35 min
Ready in: 2 hours 55 min
Yields: 16 rolls

Ingredients

For the bread dough:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/8 cup white sugar
  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature

For the filling:

  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom

For the caramel topping:

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

  1. Prepare the bread dough: Pour warm water (around 110° F) into a liquid measuring cup and dissolve the 1/4 teaspoon of sugar into it. Then add the yeast and allow the yeast to activate for 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Then add the butter, egg, yeast, and milk to the flour mixture and stir well. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it until it is soft and pliable, and no longer sticky (15-20 minutes). Place the dough in a large, greased bowl, then cover it and place the bowl in warm spot. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour.
  2. While the dough is rising, line the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake tins with parchment paper. Put the butter and brown sugar for the caramel sauce in a saucepan so it will be ready to be melted when you need it.
  3. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and stretch it out into an approximately 18" wide x 14" long rectangle. Spread the softened butter for the filling over the surface of the dough, then spread the brown sugar over the butter. (Make sure to stop just shy of the edge of the dough, as the filling will push out and forward when you roll the dough into a spiral.) Sprinkle the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom evenly over the brown sugar.
  4. Melt the butter and brown sugar together in the saucepan over medium-low heat. The sugar should be just melted enough to combine with the butter, but still be slightly grainy (it should still have a "sandy" sound/feel as you stir it, and if you taste it, there should still be a slight crunch of only partially-melted sugar crystals). Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir it in until it is completely combined with the butter/sugar mixture. Divide the caramel topping evenly between the two cake tins and spread it so it covers the bottom of the tins.
  5. Roll the dough into a tight spiral (roll from the long end—see photo). Cut the roll evenly into 2 pieces, then cut those pieces in half. Divide each of these quarters into 4. This should give you 16 even pieces; place 8 in each tin (1 in the middle and the other 7 ringed around it).
  6. Allow the rolls to rise for 20 minutes while preheating the oven to 350° F. Once ready, place both tins on the center rack and bake until golden brown on top, around 30-35 minutes.
  7. Place the tins on a cooling rack and permit them to cool for 15 minutes in the tin. Then invert the tins onto the cooling rack and remove the rolls from the tins. Gently pull off the parchment paper in one smooth motion and allow the rolls to cool another 5-10 minutes**, then serve while still warm. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. **If you decide to put nuts on top, add the nuts right after removing the parchment paper so that they will adhere to the caramel.

Photo Guide

Click thumbnail to view full-size
(Step 1) The bread dough before it has been kneaded.(Step 1) The bread dough after it has been kneaded.(Step 2) Line the cake tins with parchment paper.(Step 3) The dough after it has risen.(Step 3) The dough rolled out and covered with butter.(Step 3) The brown sugar spread over the butter.(Step 3) The spices sprinkled over the brown sugar.(Step 4) How the butter and sugar for the caramel should look right before removing it from the heat.(Step 4) The caramel sauce after the salt, vanilla, and sweetened condensed milk have been added.(Step 4) The caramel sauce in the bottom of the cake tin.(Step 5) The dough rolled up for cutting.(Step 5) Place 8 rolls in each tin.(Step 6) The rolls after they have risen.(Step 7) The rolls after coming out of the oven.(Step 7) If adding nuts, do so right after turning the rolls out of the pan.The finished rolls.
(Step 1) The bread dough before it has been kneaded.
(Step 1) The bread dough before it has been kneaded. | Source
(Step 1) The bread dough after it has been kneaded.
(Step 1) The bread dough after it has been kneaded. | Source
(Step 2) Line the cake tins with parchment paper.
(Step 2) Line the cake tins with parchment paper. | Source
(Step 3) The dough after it has risen.
(Step 3) The dough after it has risen. | Source
(Step 3) The dough rolled out and covered with butter.
(Step 3) The dough rolled out and covered with butter. | Source
(Step 3) The brown sugar spread over the butter.
(Step 3) The brown sugar spread over the butter. | Source
(Step 3) The spices sprinkled over the brown sugar.
(Step 3) The spices sprinkled over the brown sugar. | Source
(Step 4) How the butter and sugar for the caramel should look right before removing it from the heat.
(Step 4) How the butter and sugar for the caramel should look right before removing it from the heat. | Source
(Step 4) The caramel sauce after the salt, vanilla, and sweetened condensed milk have been added.
(Step 4) The caramel sauce after the salt, vanilla, and sweetened condensed milk have been added. | Source
(Step 4) The caramel sauce in the bottom of the cake tin.
(Step 4) The caramel sauce in the bottom of the cake tin. | Source
(Step 5) The dough rolled up for cutting.
(Step 5) The dough rolled up for cutting. | Source
(Step 5) Place 8 rolls in each tin.
(Step 5) Place 8 rolls in each tin. | Source
(Step 6) The rolls after they have risen.
(Step 6) The rolls after they have risen. | Source
(Step 7) The rolls after coming out of the oven.
(Step 7) The rolls after coming out of the oven. | Source
(Step 7) If adding nuts, do so right after turning the rolls out of the pan.
(Step 7) If adding nuts, do so right after turning the rolls out of the pan. | Source
The finished rolls.
The finished rolls. | Source

Tips and Suggestions

  • Make sure to use parchment paper if you have it; it will ensure that your rolls come out of the pan neatly with no sticking.
  • The amount of butter used in the recipe adds up to 2 sticks, so if you prefer to soften your butter by leaving it out on the countertop for a bit, that's how many sticks you will need.
  • The sugar should still be grainy in the caramel before baking because the topping will continue to cook while in the oven. You want the caramel topping to be soft and pleasantly chewy, rather than hard and likely to stick to people's teeth.
  • If you like the taste of salted caramel, sprinkle a little bit of coarse kosher salt or sea salt over the caramel topping once the rolls have cooled.
  • You can also add toasted pecans to the top of the rolls if you like nuts on your sweet rolls. I would recommend adding lightly salted toasted pecans after you have turned the rolls out of the pan, so that the nuts will remain crunchy.
  • Making these rolls ahead of time? Put them in the oven at a low temperature and allow them to heat a bit before serving, as they taste best warm.

Serving suggestion for caramel-topped sweet rolls
Serving suggestion for caramel-topped sweet rolls | Source

Comments

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    • Rhosynwen profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhosynwen 

      5 months ago

      @ Liza:

      Thank-you! I hope you will like them!

    • lizmalay profile image

      Liza 

      5 months ago from USA

      The sweet rolls you made look delicious! It's perfect for my Autumn mood right now. I'd love to make this for my family especially for the holiday. Thanks for sharing the yummy recipe.

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